Supporting employee physical wellbeing during COVID

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Health Assured team

25 September 2020

The latest research shows that just 31% of adults (16+ years) reach the recommended levels of physical activity in Ireland. While physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths.


Autumn. As the summer sunshine becomes a distant memory, we are soon confronted with the fact that the cold winter months will soon be upon us.


With COVID-19 still very much present in our daily lives, employers will soon be preparing how their organisations will operate during a winter pandemic.


In recent months, there has been a growing focus on how employers can support their employees’ mental wellbeing during these challenging times. However, the pandemic has caused disruption to many aspects of our lives, one of which, is our physical activity.


At the peak of the pandemic, we saw the closures of gyms, stadiums, pools, dance and fitness studios, physiotherapy centres, parks and playgrounds. All of which has likely influenced your team members physical wellbeing.


However, despite the wellbeing concerns that the pandemic has caused, research from Sport England has found that 65% of people believe exercise has helped them with their mental health during the outbreak.


Benefits of supporting employee wellbeing

Promoting good physical wellbeing in your teams has several benefits for you and your organisation. Here are just a few...

  • Increased productivity and motivation: Being more physically and mentally healthy will allow employees to perform better. This will make them more efficient and focused.
  • Decreases work-related stress: Having a healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically, can reduce stress.
  • Reduced absences: Employees with good physical fitness are less likely to need time off work due to illness.


Supporting employee fitness during COVID

Knowing that boosting an employee’s physical wellbeing has similar effects on their mental health, it’s important that employers play their part in keeping their teams active during the pandemic. Here are a few of our suggestions...

  • Exercise at home: If your team members are working from home, offer reminders to break up the time they spend being inactive by encouraging them to walk around their surroundings every 30 mins, or whenever they speak on the phone, for example. If you have a group of eager fitness fanatics, you could consider hosting virtual fitness classes for your people. Make them as inclusive and accessible as possible by promoting them within your organisation to all employees, including those who remain furloughed.
  • Outdoor activities: Encourage your teams to get outside and enjoy the longer days of daylight before winter arrives. Walking, jogging and cycling are all great methods of getting their heart rates up as well filling their lungs with fresh - which will boost their mood too!
  • Discounts: If you are planning on keeping your team members working remotely for the foreseeable, it’s a good idea to offer discounts and vouchers for wellbeing essentials, such as fitness equipment, sportswear or food delivery services.
  • Educate: Make sure that you are providing your employees with the latest information and guidance in regard to exercising safety. At the time of writing, outdoor exercise is allowed and gyms are open in the UK and Ireland, however that could change depending on the latest government guidance.



If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

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